It was a beautiful, sunny autumn day in Central Oregon, but the light seemed especially bright on a hill in North Madras. Canyon East Apartment Community was shining in all of its newness and stoic presence for the grand opening event which took place on October 21st. Dazzling comments were abuzz from attendees as they walked the property and toured the 2-, 3-, and 4-bedroom units. From the podium, honored speakers included Vicki Walker, Oregon USDA Director for Rural Development, Margaret Van Vliet, Director of Oregon Housing & Community Services, and representatives from Congressman Walden and Senator Wyden’s respective offices.
The story of Canyon East was told best by those who had seen it unfold from the beginning, like Madras City Administrator Mike Morgan, Executive Director for CASA of Oregon Peter Hainley, and Housing Works Executive Director Cyndy Cook. The seven-year history began with the vision of a blighted neighborhood wrought with drug activity born anew. Redevelopment efforts began with creating homeownership opportunities for Madras locals, followed by the construction of a thoughtfully-planned housing development at its head – standing on a hill as an example of what could be.
Cyndy Cook introduced the speakers one-by-one, giving bits of insight into the project throughout. She said, “I am so proud of the work that we have all accomplished together. Canyon East would not be here without the tireless efforts of our partners in CASA [of Oregon], Jefferson County, the City [of Madras], USDA [Rural Development], OHCS, and Home Federal Bank. But, this show of support from everyone is overwhelming.” She was referring to the crowd of people gathered in the property’s Community Room and spilling out into the Plaza.
Standing amongst the crowd of an estimated 70 spectators was new resident Ramon Alas-Acosta. A 30-year local to Madras, he listened attentively to the line of people lending their support and praise for Canyon East. He said later while enjoying the complimentary lunch of delicious carne asada tacos, “These are nice people. I am so happy to be here.”